Archive for the “Profiles” Category

Nan Kathryn Fuchs ’59: The Accidental Pioneer

Nan Kathryn Fuchs ’59: The Accidental Pioneer

By Susan Weiner, IC View, Summer 2010

Zen Buddhists have a saying that translates from Japanese as, “To be aware of opportunity is divine.” While Zen is a path without a defined beginning or end, a glimpse into Nan Kathryn Fuchs’ career reveals that her own life unfolded as a series of what she calls “fortuitous accidents.”

“Events in my life were the agents of the making of perfect timing, because I don’t think there are any true accidents. I think there are opportunities for all of us, and we seize the day and take them, or we don’t,” says Fuchs from her office in Sebastopol, California, a community known for its liberal politics and small-town charm, about a 20-minute drive from the Pacific Ocean.

Her winding journey to become one of the leading experts in the field of women’s health and writer and editor of the monthly Woman’s Health Letter began in the hilly streets of Ithaca, where Fuchs majored in English and flourished as a writer via a discourse in the college paper called “Jason the Literary Snail.” “It was a thinly disguised column about what was going on in the school,” recalls Fuchs.

Not long after graduation, Fuchs traveled to California, where she was employed at a printing company, sold encyclopedias door-to-door, and worked as a chiropractic assistant. In Los Angeles, as the Herb Lady, Fuchs was delivering teas and herbs in a Volkswagen van when she met a Chinese herbalist, who took her under his wing. “That was the beginning of my journey.”

By 1972 Fuchs cofounded one of the first holistic health centers in Los Angeles, and by 1982 she earned a Ph.D. in nutrition. In 1985, she authored the acclaimed The Nutrition Detective, eventually following up with seven more books. Reading about the original Women’s Health Letter in a weekly paper, Fuchs met the founder and contributed articles until she took over the publication 10 years later. To date, she’s appeared on over 100 television and radio programs, helping thousands of women to discover little-known cures for their chronic health issues.

“I still get excited today about things I started studying 30 years ago,” says Fuchs. “I think when we follow our path, that’s when we find the opportunity for a rich life.”

May 30, 2010 Posted Under: IC View   Read More

Heidi Skolnik ’83, M.S. ’84: Peak Performance

Heidi Skolnik ’83, M.S. ’84: Peak Performance

By Susan Weiner, IC View, Summer 2010

During her 25 years as a sports nutrition consultant, Heidi Skolnik has counseled corporate VIPs, the New York Mets, the New York Giants, the New York Knicks, the Juilliard School, and the School of American Ballet on the virtues of nutrition and performance. On any given day, a morning roundtable with NBA athletes and coaches may follow up with a lunchtime lecture at Julliard and a one-on-one evening training session with a New Jersey homemaker.

“There are some people who want structure, a 9 to 5. My schedule and destination are different every day,” explains Skolnik, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a certified dietician nutritionist, and president of Nutrition Conditioning, a nutrition consulting practice serving the greater New York Metropolitan area. “That works for me. I get to do consulting, writing, presentations, media interviews, and even sales; it’s part of owning your own business.”

Pursuing her dreams and public speaking are two of the many life skills Skolnik acquired at IC, where advisors and professors encouraged her to take a hands-on approach to her education. She ultimately fashioned a successful career in the health industry from interdisciplinary Planned Studies courses in holistic health, dance therapy, exercise, and nutrition. “IC really gave me a lot of room to create my reality,” she says.

A public speaking course provided Skolnik with basic oratory skills, and she accepted speaking engagements—some at IC—to get the experience. Opportunities arose from people who heard her talk. Now a sought-after speaker and an advisor to Men’s Health magazine, Skolnik travels the world giving lectures and has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, 20/20, and the Food Network channel.

Skolnik co-authored her first book in 2007, The Reverse Diet: Lose Weight by Eating Dinner for Breakfast and Breakfast for Dinner. Her next book, Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance (Human Kinetics), will be released in June 2010.

“I’m very practical, I’m very realistic. I think you can eat healthily without eating perfectly,” says Skolnik. As for her experience at IC, “I didn’t need to have a clear path. IC allowed me to take my passions, put them together, and make them work.”

May 29, 2010 Posted Under: IC View   Read More